Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Changing your mac address on iOS (iPhone, iPad)?

Last year I posted a popular article on How to spoof your MAC address on Mac OS X. The MAC address is the unique network hardware/device identifier that all networking hardware is embedded with. Among other things, it’s what allows providers of free Wifi services (like airports) to restrict how much time you have on their network. Once your allotted time is used, you may find you can’t get back onto their Wifi that day. That’s because they recorded the MAC address of your device, and kept a record of how long you spent on their network. Many people come searching on best-mac-tips for a way to change the MAC address on their iOS device. Unfortunately I have not found a way to do this on iOS 7.x or iOS 6.x. It was possible on earlier versions of iOS, although it required jailbreaking the device. But since those versions are so old now, there seems little point in trying write up a guide for it. You can probably find them already. Version 8 of iOS introduced even greater MAC address security features. iOS 8 actually randomises your iPhone (iPad, and iPod Touch) MAC address so your activity is not so easily tracked across networks. Unfortunately, that means it’s nearly impossible to cleanly (i.e. without major iOS/device issues) modify your MAC address. I spent a lot of time looking for an answer to this, and found nothing useful. Some folk suggest trying to issue the following command in an terminal app (on a jailbroken device):

nvram wifiaddr=00:00:00:00:00:00

The zeros would be replaced with whatever MAC address you wish to change it to. You would then reboot. But I see a lot of reports saying this can give very messy results, including not being able to access your device after the reboot because it will determine it has not been activated, etc. I do not recommend this at all. So, my best-mac-tip when it comes to spoofing your MAC address on an iOS device is simply that you can’t. This lack of user control (i.e. customisation) is just one of the many reasons why I use Android phones and tablets. If your device is still running iOS 5, or perhaps 6, you may be able to find a guide online… so long as you are willing to break your device out of Apple Prison Central and jailbreak it. The good news is that iOS will reportedly randomise the device MAC address for privacy reasons. I suspect (just guessing) this will likely mean that Wifi services that block devices by MAC address will no longer be able to do that. Of course, this remains it remains to be seen just how this MAC randomisation feature will be implemented. You can read about this feature here:

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